Chesterfield woman creates Shoe Crazy Wine to sell her own brand of blended wines

November 18, 2017 / Current News/ Partner News

A personal calamity put Gwen Hurt on the path to becoming an entrepreneur.

Hurt, a South Carolina native, had a successful 15-year career working in information technology, which included living in Hong Kong for seven years. In 2013, however, she was laid off as part of a corporate restructuring.

“Normally, that is not such a big deal, in the IT world,” Hurt said. Given the demand for IT professionals, “you can just look for another position.”

Exit 45 Gardens Project Tip of Economic Development Iceberg for Prince George

November 13, 2017 / Current News

PRINCE GEORGE – A months-long project aimed at beautifying one of Prince George County’s most heavily visited exits reached completion last month but, for the county’s economic development team, the project is just the beginning of a bright future for Prince George’s business prospects.

In October, Prince George County and The Cameron Foundation marked the completion of their collaborative $1.2 million gateway project with a dedication ceremony at the site. “The Gardens at Exit 45,” named for its location off Interstate 95 at Exit 45, includes major lighting and landscaping enhancements. Along with the visually appealing landscaping elements, it features two, 47-foot-tall glass architectural spires that flank the roadway as well as create a threshold to the commercial district. The celebration follows more than two years of planning, design, and construction of the unique gateway.

For the Healys of The Boathouse Restaurants, Restaurant Business is a Family Affair

November 13, 2017 / Current News/ Partner News

Paige Healy was 9 or 10 years old and taking an art class when students were asked to draw a picture of what they wanted to be when they grew up.

For Healy, it didn’t take much thought.

“I drew myself in a chef jacket and tall chef hat in a kitchen with a pan in my hands,” she said.

Healy started tagging along to work with her dad, Kevin Healy, at his restaurant, later renamed The Boathouse at Sunday Park, before she was tall enough to reach the kitchen’s food prep counters. When she was older and taller, she pitched in with bussing tables and food prep, and later with hostess and bartender duties.

Wayfair Latest to Join Regional Distribution Boom

November 5, 2017 / Current News

An e-commerce retail giant known for its home furnishings and décor is adding to its network of distribution hubs with a new location in metro Richmond.

Boston-based Wayfair has signed a four-year lease to establish a 46,000-square-foot facility in the Rivers Bend Industrial Park at 805 Liberty Way in Chester, its first in the local market.

The Best Educated State: Virginia’s Workforce Improvement Plan

November 2, 2017 / Current News

A large percentage of students at the Charlottesville college were not finishing degrees, a common issue across the country at community colleges, which traditionally serve part-time, older and first-generation college students. “We held a college-wide series of town hall meetings,” Frank Friedman, president of PVCC, says of the initiative started three years ago. “We were not satisfied with the percentage of our students who were graduating.”

As a result, PVCC launched a Student Success program in 2015, providing mandatory orientation and advising to help students navigate their educational pathways. The college beefed up its advising staff and started a mentoring program for new students. “This was a concerted effort involving literally the entire faculty and staff to develop interventions to help our students succeed without lowering any of our standards,” says Friedman.

Initiatives like these will play a vital role in Virginia’s ambitious push to become the best-educated state in the nation by 2030. That goal could require raising the percentage of Virginia’s working-age population (25-64) with at least a two-year degree or a workplace credential from 51 to 70 percent, according to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).

Got Brands? Virginia: A Hotbed for Top Products

October 24, 2017 / Current News

M&M’s is a billion dollar global brand — one of ten billion dollar brands in Mars’ food and pet-care businesses. The others include: Snickers, Twix, Orbit/Extra, Dove/Galaxy, Banfield, Pedigree, Whiskas and Royal Canin, and VCA Inc.

Mars is Virginia-based, operating from its corporate headquarters in McLean. The two-story, brown-brick building isn’t plush as headquarters go, but there is a tasty perk: free snacks, including a cold case in the reception area stocked with Mars ice-cream confections.

With so many big brands, it’s not surprising that the fourth-generation, family-owned business ranks as the sixth-largest private company in America, with $35 billion in annual sales and 85,000 employees in 80 countries.

Yet when it comes to winning brands, Mars has plenty of company in Virginia. From the macho Marlboro Man to a rambunctious group of Vikings who promoted Capital One credit cards, Virginia companies have a history of standout products and slogans.

Virginia Higher Education Summit Highlights Ties between College and Economic Development

October 13, 2017 / Current News

Academic leaders and public officials gathered Wednesday in Richmond to discuss how best to turn higher education investment into economic output in Virginia.

The Virginia Business Higher Education Council and Growth4VA, the council’s campaign to help grow the state’s economy, on Wednesday hosted the 2017 Virginia Summit on Higher Education and Economic Competitiveness in the Richmond Marriott on East Broad Street.

Over the course of the day-long summit, business leaders, higher education administrators and members of state government, including the major-party gubernatorial candidates, talked about the role of higher education in the commonwealth’s economic competitiveness.

VGR Celebrates Manufacturing Day 2017

October 6, 2017 / Current News

Manufacturing in Virginia alone employs roughly 230,000 members of our workforce and accounts for 8.95% of the Commonwealth’s total output. On a national scale, manufacturers contributed over $2 trillion to the U.S. economy last year. Manufacturing also boasts the highest multiplier effect of any economic sector with $1.81 injected into the economy for every dollar spent.

Due to the Gateway Region’s strong manufacturing heritage, this industry serves as a core factor of the region’s growth strategy. An area strong in manufacturing is a direct reflection of a skilled workforce and their relevant training resources and a strategic location with excellent infrastructure permitting efficient access to all markets and rapid transport of goods.

Southside Regional Medical Center Breaks Ground on Free-Standing Emergency Care Center

October 5, 2017 / Current News

Southside Regional Medical Center (SRMC) broke ground on the new free-standing Southside Emergency Care Center due to open in 2018 in Colonial Heights. The groundbreaking ceremony was held on Wednesday at the facility’s future site, 60 East Roslyn Court.

“Demand for emergency services in the area continues to increase and Southside Emergency Care Center will provide an additional access point to care for people close to home,” said Trent Nobles, CEO at Southside Regional Medical Center. “We look forward to expand these services to better serve our community.”

Women in Manufacturing: Closing the Gap

September 28, 2017 / Current News

Women have played a role in the manufacturing industry since World War II, when the U.S. government called upon women to fill vacated positions left by male enlistment in the armed services. During those years, women took up jobs in the factories and shipyards that were largely considered to be only suitable for men. The image of Rosie the Riveter, among others, was used as a campaign to draw women into the workforce, appealing to their sense of patriotism. And it worked. During these times, women excelled at jobs in the aviation, munitions, and many other industries. But as the war ended, a majority of these women left their factory jobs or were replaced by the men returning from war